To launch the very first issue of Vogue Arabia, the powers that be at the magazine couldn’t have picked a more appropriate cover girl: Gigi Hadid.
This cover is particularly important for Gigi for personal reasons, as it celebrates her Palestinian roots. In both versions of the cover she wears a jewel-embroidered headscarf, in stunning photos taken by photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
“I think the beautiful thing about there being international Vogue's is that, as a fashion community, we are able to celebrate, and share with the world, different cultures,” Gigi wrote on Instagram. “Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry's desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to... & learn and grow in doing so. Thank you @deenathe1st for your vision and for having me on this cover... by the incredible @inezandvinoodh - so much love.”
Gigi’s father, Mohamed Hadid, is a Palestinian-American Muslim businessman. And we all know her mother: the one and only Yolanda, who is Dutch.
Back in December, Gigi appeared in a video for the magazine, where she introduced herself in Arabic.
And over a year ago, she and her friends got henna tattoos on her hands, which Gigi shared on Instagram, writing, “Before you go all ‘cultural appropriation’ in my comments, check out the last name. Hadid. Half Palestinian & proud of it.”
While Gigi’s loud and proud about her roots, she recently found herself in hot water with fans when she was accused of being racially-insensitive. It seemed like Gigi was mocking Asian people when a video surfaced of her mimicking a cookie, which some speculated was a Japanese sumo wrestler.
Her boyfriend, Zayn Malik, came to her defence by tweeting, “She likes Asians ;)”.
And even though this latest Vogue cover shows Gigi in all her Palestinian beauty, some of her previous work with the magazine has been slammed for being inappropriate, like the time she wore an afro wig for a Vogue Italia shoot.
Gigi’s fellow model Karlie Kloss also experienced backlash against a Vogue US shoot that depicted her as a ‘Geisha.’ Karlie issued an apology, saying, “These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive. My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women," she wrote. "I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission. Sincerely, Karlie.”